The undulating valley floor lay before us, stretching for miles ahead. We gazed from above, as we sat on a rock outcropping catching our breath from the hard climb up. As clouds moved across the sky, the light playing across the land brought sharp focus to the ravines and hillocks that lay hidden at first glance. This was cattle country, fences bounding vast upper mountain meadows and pastureland, old homestead buildings dotting the landscape. Water was aplenty, the river having been dammed years before, a great reservoir laying in the low areas, the watery grave of older homesteads and pioneer towns. Today cabins and fancy mountain lake homes could be found nestled in the yellow pine forests that marched down the mountainsides to the lake, thirsty for drink. Fishing and boating were popular with those who visited the lake, but from our vista view we saw bigger things, the majesty that surrounded the valley below.
It had been an arduous climb, my life long companion, my husband, knowledgeable in the ways of rock climbing and outdoor survival. We had both been through our own challenging climbs before we met, and our journey together brought new wonders and demands to navigate. Sitting on this outcrop now gave pause to the long journey of marriage, parenting, and careers, time to step aside from our microscopic, tunneled views of everyday life to see the bigger picture. To see us as part of a grander, more marvelous reality than before. Perhaps that is why God brought us together. To help us help each other balance, walk through the inner and outer treks we would encounter. To dive deep within ourselves to explore new understanding, mine for true lasting treasure placed there by the same Creator who created the vast mountain vistas, to learn to renew our minds by the truth of who God says He is and who we are in Him. It is quite like mountain climbing. One suddenly turns a forested corner, and there it is laying before you! Understanding, as clear and beautiful as the most resplendent places on earth. Or perhaps even more so, for the price that was paid for a gift of unmerited favor.
Catching our breath we relished this time to pause, to gaze, to be thankful for this beautiful place to rest and reflect. Like ants scurrying nonstop, their whole hill alive with frenzied motion, life had a way of pulling us this way and that, scrambling our thoughts with so many demands one was hard pressed to know what to do, except explode! Or implode. No wonder emotions, like a pressure cooker gone awry, could overpower and blast one into behaviors uncontrolled. Or if turned inward would erode and carve deep wounds like torrents of rushing water sculpting sandstone canyons. Yes, my mind still needs renewal every day, for I have known the highs and lows of emotional tides. Some might enjoy the adventure of such rides, perhaps in a seaworthy sailboat, but inside one’s mind I prefer the thrills of smooth sailing and revelation of new glorious vistas. Pausing on this high mountain perch, a special place that my husband has visited many times before, reminds me of the importance of going to high mountains, for rest, reflection, renewal. To a place where one can breathe rarified air, see past the clouds or pollution, gaze far into panoramas that go on and on and on, never ending vistas that inspire, refill one’s soul. And to remember again the indescribable grandeur and glory of Him who has gifted us His renewal, inside and out. To sit there with Him, and be thankful. And then walk with Him into the valley below.